Sexually Active Teens And Young Adults Not Getting HIV Testing
A recently published US government report reveals that HIV testing is uncommon among sexually active teens and young adults--a worrying situation that remains unchanged for nearly a decade.
Data from national health surveys administered to high school students from 2005 to 2013 and young adults (age 18 to 24) from 2011 to 2013 yielded disappointing results despite active reproductive health campaigns led by federal and local health authorities.
According to research findings from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 50% of US high school students were reportedly having unprotected sex. Experts noted that having sex without using condoms poses extreme risk of contracting HIV. Nearly 15% of those surveyed admitted having multiple sex partners.
"Without HIV testing and diagnosis, adolescents and young adults cannot take advantage of HIV care and treatment that can improve their health and reduce the risk of transmission to others," the official statement from the researchers said as quoted in a report by Latinos Health.
The report added that only 22% of sexually active high school students and just 33% of young adults were known to have received HIV tests at least once- a troubling indication of the youth's under-appreciation of sex education or lack of knowledge on the importance of reproductive health as mentioned by Daily Mail.
"Adolescents and young adults face multiple barriers to HIV testing," remarked senior research author Michelle Van Handel of CDC in Atlanta as quoted by Reuters.
These hindering factors often include the lack of confidentiality in HIV-specific healthcare services, soaring costs of HIV testing, and inadequate sex education. In a society that shuns HIV, such services are often stigmatized by shame-laden public perception. Furthermore, conservative resistance to CDC-recommended sex education lessons resulted to teens and young adults with poor knowledge of their reproductive health.